Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Foremark Reservoir, Derbyshire

I have been out of action for the last 2 weeks due to a tooth removal which left me in quite a bit of discomfort (and that is an understatement). However a couple of days before its removal I had gone up to Burton-on-Trent and although it was a “working” weekend (helping a mate out) did get a chance to go out for a couple of hours on the Friday. But first the trip up there. Whenever I go up North I try to take the M40, the reason is that I always like to stop at Stockenchurch a small village which lays at J5 of the M40 and it is from here that you can see Red Kites; lots of Red Kites. If you ever want to see Red Kites, this is the place; on this particular day I counted 25 different individuals circling overhead. Despite my best efforts, I have still to take a decent picture of them but here are the best that I took that day.

Red Kite - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 

Red Kite - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 
Red Kite - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 

Red Kite - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 

Whilst in Burton-on-Trent I had planned to spend any spare time at the RSPB reserve at Carsington Water, but lack of time meant I went with another option and that was Foremark Reservoir, a Country Park owned by Trent Water, only 10 minutes from where I had been staying. A Little bit about the reserve, it costs £1.50 for parking no matter how long you stay and its pay on entry, it has two car Parks and the various facilities include toilets, cafeteria and a visitor centre. The area around the car parks is fairly open but with some wooded areas and they both look out over the Northern end of the reservoir.

Bad timing meant I got there at and managed to walk for two hours during the hottest part of the day. Still I took a long look over the reservoir and was saddened by the lack of anything other than a couple of distant Cormorants and a Mute swan on the opposite shore. I decided to walk South towards Carvers Rocks an SSSI looked after by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. This route took me mainly through a wooded area, the path running from between 10-30 yards from the shore of the reservoir. Once away from the car park I was assailed by a large number of bird calls from the depths of the woods, which went to highlight my lack of knowledge in this area, though I was able to pick out a few of the commoner birds such as Chaffinch, Blackbird and Robin. I kept to the woodland path where about ¼ mile south of the car park I heard a group of Blue Tits moving around in the upper canopy, however I was quite pleased to pick out a fledgling Coal Tit with an attendant parent constantly on the hunt for food moving around in the lower branches. I watched them for over 15 minutes with my camera at the ready, but neither bird sat still for a moment and with the sun fighting to get through the foliage these were the best shots I got.

Fledgling Coal Tit - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Coal Tit - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 

Coal Tit (Parent with insect) - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 
After the Tits, things got a little quieter and I reached the area of the SSSI. There was a pond there upon which there was a small amount of activity, I picked out a newt which shot off as I saw it and there was a solitary tadpole sunning itself in the middle of the pond (the white specks are dirt on the water, not on my lens).

Tadpole - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 
Also flitting around at the pond were a number of Large Red Damselfies, whilst in the woods at the back I could hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker and in the distance a Green Woodpecker. Looking along the reservoir from the Southern tip I picked of 20+ Great Crested Grebes, a small number of Coots, a pair of Tufted Ducks and a pair of Mallards.

Large Red Damselfly - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 

The return to the carpark was a revisit of what I had seen on the outward walk, however this time I stopped at the waters edge by a stream inlet with a weir; here I found half a dozen Sand Martins flying close to the bank picking up insects, however their turn of speed was such that this was the best photo I got (heavily cropped).

Sand Martin - Cannon 400D + 100-400mm 
Other sightings for the day included a Song Thrush who was so shy I could only pick out his head from the bush he was singing in, a fledgling Long Tailed Tit though its parents remained hidden, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Magpie and Great Tit. Although I did not see too much, I believ that had I got there a lot earlier, say , I would have nearly doubled my 23 sightings, a nice site and one I will return to.

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